Q. How can I create more privacy in the garden?

Slatted screens, hedges and transparent grasses will avert the gaze of neighbours and passersby, without spoiling your view, says Dawn Isaac

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We might love our neighbours, be naturally gregarious and like nothing more than a chat, but none of us wants to feel we’re on show the moment we set foot in our garden. At the same time, if you have a lovely view, or much needed light, then erecting six foot high walls is going to rob you of these delights. 

There is of course a compromise. You can use plenty of designer tricks to create a sense of privacy without feeling like you're trapped in Colditz. Planting can create enclosures and screening at the same time as adding colour and form, and even filtering out some wind. Structures and clipped forms can direct and distract prying eyes while well-placed boundary structures can add to a sense of security and privacy.


1. Featureless concrete paving bank

2. No gate at front

3. Garden wide open to footpath users

4. Bins and washing on view

 The solution

Train pleached trees - It takes time and skill but pleaching fruit trees can create a high screen between neighbours that is also a productive one

Use distraction planting - Swapping paving for planting on the slope will attract the eye of passers by and keep them on the bank rather than the garden or house

Plant a screen of grasses - Tall grasses such as miscanthus, Stipa gigantea or Calamagrostis creates a fluid and semi transparent screen for most of the year

Grow multi-height hedges - A low hedge at the centre ensures the view can still be enjoyed from the house but by increasing height at the side a private seating area is created behind

Add a pergola with side slats - As well as providing screening from above, pergolas can also provide screening at the side either with outdoor curtains or trellis panels as used here

Gate the entrance A delicate iron work gate marks the entrance and gives an added sense of privacy and security without feeling heavy and obstructive

Hide the bins - No one needs to see you popping out the rubbish so delicate overhead beams and a trellis screen mask this area from view

Add gentle noise - A water feature and wind chimes add sounds to the garden which help camouflage conversations and make people feel less audibly on show

Plant a small tree - It takes time to have an impact but planting a spreading tree will eventually screen off whole areas from outside view as well as creating private spaces beneath the boughs

Window plants - Planting around the house windows makes them less visually obvious and so reduces the temptation for passers by to peer inside

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